Volume 19 Issue 50 | April 27 - May 3, 2007

Silver: Downtown’s still in the hunt for Chase

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said JPMorgan Chase’s reported threat to move to Stamford, Conn. over Downtown is real but several sites at the World Trade Center are under consideration.

“Nothing has changed,” Silver told Downtown Express Wednesday. “Downtown is still a viable site for them.”

He said he spoke on the phone with Jamie Dimon, Chase’s C.E.O. and chairperson, on Tuesday while Dimon was in Beijing.

The New York Times, quoting anonymous government and real estate sources, reported on Wednesday that Chase was threatening to move from Midtown to Stamford rather than the Tower 5 site at the W.T.C.

Tower 5 is controlled by the Port Authority. It is not large enough to accommodate the trading floors desired by Chase, but the firm is proposing to cantilever the trading floors over a public park planned near the site. Downtown residents have raised objections to the idea of obstructing the park, particularly when two W.T.C. tower sites on Church St. are large enough for trading floors.

Two theories have emerged for Chase’s objections to Church St.: either the firm would rather negotiate with the Port than W.T.C. developer Larry Silverstein, or it wants more control of its headquarters.

Silver said contrary to published reports, Chase is also considering Church St. in addition to Tower 5 and Connecticut. “They are exploring all available sites,” he said.

A Chase spokesperson declined to comment.

Silver said Chase is looking for the same type of multi-hundred-million dollar incentive package Goldman Sachs got two years ago to build new headquarters in Battery Park City. Mayor Mike Bloomberg said Wednesday Lower Manhattan is in much stronger shape now and there are better ways to spend the public’s money.

“People want to live here, people want to build their businesses here,” Bloomberg said during a press conference. “And the city just doesn’t have to give that kind of package to anybody else and so we won’t.”

Silver said the Empire State Development Corporation and the Port are open to making a deal to get Chase to move Downtown.

— Josh Rogers

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